South Carolina Department of Mental Health

DMH Honors Outstanding Volunteers of the Year 2006

Columbia, SC -The S.C. Department of Mental Health honored its Outstanding Volunteers for 2006 at a reception held in Columbia on October 4, 2006.

Outstanding Individual Volunteer

Al Baier
Nominated by Maria Barrera
Tucker Center

Al BaierSpirit-led services and spirit-filled songs – that is what Al Baier delivers every first and third Sunday morning at Tucker Center.  For 15 years, he has faithfully provided church services for the residents of the Stone and Roddey pavilions.  Better known to our residents as the Guitar Man, Al is kind, caring and always smiling; the residents love him and look forward to their time with him.

Al came to us through another long-time volunteer in 1991 when Tucker had no staff Chaplain.  He helped to keep the worship services going every Sunday for over a year and agreed to continue to stay with us, even after we were able to start up Pastoral Care Services with staff again.

As a lay minister from the Pentecostal tradition, Al represents diversity for our Pastoral Care Services and our residents. Even his guitar music adds variety to the services.  He has dedicated himself to sharing his time between both a prison ministry and a nursing home ministry.

Outstanding Volunteer Group

Mental Health Association in Anderson County
Nominated by Sandra Jamison
Patrick B. Harris Psychiatric Hospital

Pam Cox and Mary EspiegThe Mental Health Association of Anderson County Board has been serving Harris Hospital patients in many ways since Christmas of 1985.  They provide Christmas gifts, clothing, magazines, and parties.

Every Christmas they come with homemade cookies, snacks, candies, and drinks and arrange entertainment for our patients.  They often arrange for the local high school band or orchestra to play and then they talk with the patients making them feel very special as they eat their snacks.  As the patients leave, they always present each of them with a gift;   this year as the patients left the gym, each was presented with a Christmas card.  As the patients opened their cards, they realized they each contained a gift of $3.00 (a total of $462.00).  The patients were thrilled, which showed with the spring in their walk back to the lodge.  One patient was overheard saying “We’ve GOT MONEY!”

Harris Hospital commends the board members of the Mental Health Association of Anderson County for taking time out of their schedules during this busy season to make such a difference in the lives of our residents.

Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Publix Super Market
Nominated by Jenifer Sharpe
Lexington County Community Mental Health Center

Ron Arnold of PublixLexington County Community Mental Health Center proudly nominates Publix Super Market at 100 Old Cherokee Road for the SCDMH Distinguished Service Award for 2006.  This wonderful organization has provided donations to help meet clients’ needs for over ten years now.  Bakery manager, James Robinson, packs up bread, cakes, pastries, and other assorted goods each week.  Connie Crosby, the loading dock manager, collects and packs up the bakery items as well as other assorted staples and seasonal items from snack crackers to sunscreen for the center and arrives at work and hour early each Thursday morning to meet the LCCMHC staff member who picks up the items.
The total estimated value of the items donated by the Lexington Publix over the past year is $12,900.  While the monetary value of this contribution is amazing, what this help has meant to our clients is priceless.  The donations are used as bingo prizes in day programs, to provide birthday cakes and parties to adults and child clients who have never had anyone give them such a special moment, and to help supplement clients’ food supplies when they simply don’t have the means to meet these most basic of needs any other way.  Being able to go home with enough to make sandwiches means a great deal when the cupboards are bare.

At Christmas in 2005, Publix Inc. provided the center with funds to purchase the fixings for a special holiday dinner for eight families.  When it was discovered at the time of purchase that the food bill total was slightly over the allotted amount, instead of allowing some of the food to be put back, the checkout employee and bagger each pulled the extra out of their own pockets and made up the difference.  That’s the kind of good-hearted people who work at the Lexington Publix, and why we know they are truly special.